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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Almost Over

I feel like I’ve been running an ultra, the finish line is in sight, AND I JUST CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER STEP. I don’t feel this way from running though – I’m talking about the end of the school year, and I don’t feel like I have it in me to cross the finish line. The boys are ALMOST, ALMOST finished. My grade-schooler is as good as finished. But my middle-schooler and high-schooler have their noses to the grind, pumping out projects and studying for finals. My night job (adult education) is in its final week. And I’ve been taking more substitute teaching assignments than usual because it’s all coming to an end. But I AM SOOOOO TIRED. Just. A. Little. Bit. Longer. Take one more step. And then another. And then another.  This is what I tell myself when I’m running.  Hopefully it will work for this. Winking smile

I have time to make quick stops at the gym. Very little time for the trails. I do have two trail runs to report this week. First, on Sunday, I took a practice run on twenty miles of the 50k race I’m running in four weeks. Though not a technical course, it’s a tough course. A LOT OF UPHILL (For that matter, a lot of downhill too, but the uphill is so relentless, that by the time it’s downhill time, I’m pooped).

harding tt 20 mile out and back elevation

On Sunday, I packed a great deal of water, as I’ve gotten myself in trouble on these very trails before. In all I carried 110 fluid ounces. Seventy of those were in my pack bladder, the remaining I carried mostly on my back. Thank goodness I don’t have to carry that extra water weight during the race. On Sunday, my back ached so much by the time I reached my turnaround point, I broke down and took two ibuprofen. I also cut open beneath the mouth of my plastic water bottles so that I could pour the still frozen water chunks into my bladder and carry the fluids in a centralized location. This made a huge difference comfort-wise on the downhill portion. On the bad side, it took me 6 hours to travel twenty miles. Granted, on race day, I will probably move faster. But as usual, I will need to move A LOT faster. On the good side, I came in on those twenty miles feeling strong. Back at home, I didn’t even take a nap.  Oh!  And I ran up on two snakes on Harding Truck Trail during this run – a ribbon snake (garter snake?) and a gopher snake.

Report 2, today (Thursday) I hit the trails for a 12.50 mile run that I had no business running.  I have absolutely no time for this!  I didn’t have a sub job though, so damn the laundry and damn the dishes.  They can wait until after I cross the finish line!  (Tell that to the boys who had to scrounge around for underwear this morning – because today I also had a small report to write for a six hour meeting I’m attending tomorrow, attendance to record and print for June, a timecard to complete, Vacation Bible School registration to complete, a son to coach in Spanish, and a three hour testing lab to run at the Adult School, etc., etc., etc.,).  And so I ran anyway!

A helicopter hovered close to the ground at the get-go in Aliso Canyon.  It had border patrol colors (green and white), so my guess was they were looking for someone.  Either that, or they were just running maneuvers.  The noise got a little annoying at times though – and it did seem they were looking for something or someone, as the helicopter flew so close I could see the passenger leaning out and looking toward the ground.  And as I gleefully ran along the dusty trail, I got to thinking about how stupid this was if the helicopter was Border Control, that the U.S. would leave the borders so easily crossable and then hunt people who cross illegally inside the borders as if they were animals or hardened criminals.  I mean, come on!  If it’s that important that you spend so much manpower and money to hunt people down, why not make it more difficult to cross?  Ah . . .  off subject, I guess.  Immigration is a huge and controversial subject here in California.  Regardless of my views on the matter, I hate this hunting down of people.  Hate. It.  And I had PLENTY of time to think about it as this helicopter swept down low into the valley for HOURS today.  Seriously, hours.  (Do note that it’s only my speculation over what they were doing – but we all know here that green and white is Border Control.  Just sayen).

SO!  I “ran” up Mentally Sensitive as the helicopter continued to hover about.  And I found time to smile despite that trail’s retched incline. 

And then I smiled tenfold as I ran along Top of the World and saw this baby goat.  I so wanted to hop the electrified fence and take him for my own.  But alas, I ran on because time was running short, and I still had so much to do.

And then, silly, crazy me, I decided to lengthen my loop (originally planned on 10.75 miles) for a 12.50 mile loop.  Why?  All because I wanted to run down RockIt which is a huge challenge, even on the downhill.  It’s steep in some parts, and so unevenly rocky, that I find it quite difficult to gain any speed.  Still I try.  And try I did.  And I didn’t even fall on RockIt.  I fell on Coyote Run Trail.  Flat on my butt.  Serves me right.  Winking smile  I really had no business putting in a 12+ mile trail run today anyway. 


  1. The helicopter was documenting "invasive weeds". Sounds crazy, but I saw them as well, hovering over one of the meadows. More information can be found here on the OC Parks site (http://ocparks.com/civicax/inc/blobfetch.aspx?BlobID=36059)

    1. Ah! That explains it. Thanks Chris! I always feel uneasy when there's a helicopter hovering about. :)